Though Swati Sharma and Eshaan Varma initially met through the South Asian Student Alliance at Loyola University Chicago, they did not start getting to know each other until Eshaan had already graduated. The two began chatting online and soon went on their first date, going to dinner, walking on the beach at Loyola to watch fireworks, and watching a classic Bollywood movie together. Four years later, Eshaan and Swati celebrated their anniversary with their traditional “staycation” at a hotel in downtown Chicago. “Little did I know that this weekend would be quite different,” reveals the bride.

Eshaan had recruited his brother to plan for an elaborate proposal. After brunch, Eshaan treated his future bride to a manicure and pedicure. “When I came back to the room, Eshaan was nowhere to be found. Instead, there was a CD playing one of my favorite Hindi songs and flowers all over. Little letters of our memories together, and small clues all over the room finally led me to the safety box (the combination was the number of days we had been dating), where I found a beautiful dress, and a note telling me to be ready in 45 minutes and down in the lobby!” tells Swati. Once downstairs, the bride was whisked away by Eshaan’s brother in a limo. She was taken to the dock where they walked on their first date. The groom stood at the end of the dock and proposed. Afterwards, the newly engaged couple drove around the city in the limo and arrived at a restaurant where they were greeted by both the bride and the groom’s parents for a family dinner. “And after all this, Eshaan arranged all of our closest family and friends to get together for a celebration!” shares the bride.

After taking some time to enjoy life as an engaged couple, Swati and Eshaan started planning their nuptials, taking plenty of advice of friends and family. “We truly are grateful to our parents, siblings, and extended family for helping us with the wedding planning and also being there to celebrate with us and making it a very special day for us,” says the bride.

The traditional Hindu ceremony featured Swati carried in on a doli – or small carriage ­– until she arrived to the aisle, which was framed by tall glass vases topped by pink and vanilla blooms with gold branches spiraling upwards, draped with crystals. The resplendent bride then walked down the aisle with her bridesmaids. After the ceremony, the newlyweds celebrated with their 300 guests during a lavish reception filled with lovely shades of blue and lilac, matching Swati’s reception gown. Centerpieces featured ivory hydrangeas, lilacs, and both roses and calla lilies in a lavender hue. Crystal embellishments were aplenty, especially in regards to the dramatic, eye-catching sweetheart table.

The couple's stunning wedding cake was prominently displayed near the dance floor. The five-tiered confection looked as if it was wrapped with satin, adorned with frosted blue flowers, lavender detailing, and lilacs around the base. In lieu of favors, Swati and Eshaan made a donation to Prevent Child Abuse America. The bride’s advice for soon-to-be-married couples is wise in its simplicity: “Enjoy every moment.”